Clinical trials are hoping to develop a treatment capable of restoring vision in patients who have suffered blindness as a result of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Scientists at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital and the University of Sheffield are hoping that using cells from human embryonic cell stems will successfully replace damaged retinal cells that are the cause of AMD.
It is estimated that around 25 per cent of those aged over 60 years suffer from some form of AMD and that around 14 million people in Europe develop blindness as a result of the condition.
However, there is now real hope that the use of stem cells could improve diagnosis and treatment for many AMD sufferers as well as offering a permanent cure.
Tom Bremridge, chief executive of The Macular Disease Society, said: "This development is exciting and encouraging for current and future generations of AMD patients.
"While treatments for 'wet AMD' are advancing rapidly, sadly patients with 'dry AMD' have had no prospect of any viable therapy."
Treatment news : 07/06/2007